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Why sometimes you *want* to to have your DFM files stored as binary

Posted by jpluimers on 2016/08/25

Delphi Component/Tool vendors have to support a truckload of Delphi and C++ Builder versions which can be a pain: they have to work around problems in Delphi and C++ Builder versions that have long been abandoned by Borland/CodeGear/Embarcadero/Idera/…

This means that sometimes the Delphi Component/Tool vendors have to work around stuff in a way normal applications vendors would never do.

Recently I learned that sometimes this can be a painful thing: keeping DFM files in binary state.

I’m not kidding about either the DFM file format nor about supporting old versions:

  • Delphi has supported text based DFM files since like Delphi 2 for most of the features (yes, ‘most’ is the crucial word here) and by default stored DFM files in text format since Delphi 5.
  • For the Component/Tool Vendors, even Delphi 7 makes money though usually less than Delphi 2007 or the C++ Builder side of things.

The ‘most’ applies to this nice ARM compiler bug in Delphi 19.0.13856.4978 (for mere mortals, that’s Update 1 for RAD Studio XE5, Delphi XE5 and C++Builder XE5; I wish vendors would list those numbers/products in a central place):

  • [Android] MsBuild (dccAarm) error when compile FireMonkeyMobile projects with fmx forms
  • Project:  Delphi
  • Build #:  19.0.13856.4978

Source: QualityCentral

That’s why TeeChart still has most DFM files stored as binary files (again the ‘most’ word).

For version control and searching this is a pain, so normal application developers (the ones not using Delphi XE5 Update 1 for Android work) should run convert.exe with the -t (target=text) switch on DFM binary files.

Oh: this is fixed in version 19.0.13856.4978 (yes, that’s XE5 Update 2).

–jeroen

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